What’s the easiest field to get started in as a professional photographer? While I’m sure I can get a dozen different answers, after a variety of conversations the last few weeks, my answer today is Senior Photography.
Every year around 4.3 million kids enter their senior year of high school [here in the U.S.] Which means about 4.3 million kids are in need of a high school senior portrait. How can you get a small percentage of these students into your studio?
1. Advertise in school newspapers. Most schools have some sort of school newspaper. Ask for the editor, or teacher in charge of the process. Most have an ad rate – or you can offer a donation to put in your ad.
2. Advertise in community newspapers. Every school is in a small community that has a local newspaper. Place ad ad, and maybe even talk to the editor about an article on a local senior.
3. Start up a contest. Kids need a lot of things when transitioning from high school to college. Why not enter each portrait client into a drawing for gift certificates, money cards, iPods and even laptop computers.
4. Set up buddy days. It’s fun to have portraits taken together. If two or more seniors set up a portrait on the same day, include a buddy portrait at no additional cost.
5. Teach a photography class at your local high school. Or have an after school club to help students become better photographers. Not all schools have photography classes in the curriculum – this is a great way to connect with potential seniors – and potential clients.
6. Build a website. Showcase every client you have. Seniors go where their friends go. Show them who’s come through your doors, and you’re more likely to gain more clients.
7. Set up a display at your local mall. Students spend a lot of time at the mall. So do their moms. Showcase your best work, and start the phone ringing.
8. Mail postcards. Yes, postcards still work, even in the Internet age. Put your best photos on display, get a mailing list of students in your area, and give them a reason to give you a call.
9. Ask last year’s seniors for a referral. Every senior has a friend or two that’s in the class below them.
10. Take out a display ad in the yearbook. Thank this years seniors, and wish them luck as they move on to college. Make sure you put your best photos from this year – to help you book next years’ seniors.